Crakes, rails, Painted Snipes & other somewhat mythical creatures

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Subject: Crakes, rails, Painted Snipes & other somewhat mythical creatures
From: "Lawrie Conole" <>
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 2003 16:08:55 +1100
Back when I was a lad in Geelong (central-south Victoria) it seemed to
me that crakes, rails and Painted Snipes were the most cryptic and
difficult things to get on to - I regarded them as largely mythical
until I got a few under my belt.  Australasian and Little Bitterns
fitted into the same category.  Spotted Crake was the exception - fairly
abundant and easy to see in suitable habitat.  I can recall looking in
drains, gutters, swamps, etc. for the Buff-banded Rail.  After a few
years of this I got a glimpse of one, and then they popped up more
frequently of course - the next one was standing on the footpath outside
a milk bar in Dunolly in the Victorian goldfields region!!

These days it seems like there are barrow loads of these things in every
bunch of Cumbungi.  I've seen more Baillon's Crakes in the last 5 years
than I saw in the previous 20.

What has changed?  Have we all got better at finding them?  Have they
become more abundant?  Have they become a bit more habituated to people
being in their habitats?  Have they been displaced from other places
more remote from the big towns?  Or some combination of all of

Interested to hear your perspectives.

Lawrie Conole
Senior Ecologist
Ecology Australia Pty. Ltd.
Flora and Fauna Consultants
88B Station Street
FAIRFIELD VIC 3078 Australia
Ph: (03) 9489 4191; Mob: (0419) 588 993
Fax: (03) 9481 7679
ABN 83 006 757 142

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